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Businessmen: labour force deficit already exists; foreign students should be integrated in labour market

Jānis Endziņš/lrpv.gov.lv.
61.2% of businessmen in Latvia already experience problems with finding qualified workers. More than one-fifth of them expect difficulties in the near future. 79.7% of interviewed entrepreneurs said they support the idea of integrating foreign students in Latvia’s labour market, as concluded in data from a survey performed by Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), interviewing 225 businessmen.

When asked if they are worried about labour force availability in Latvia, 61.2% of respondents said there is already a deficit. 26.8% said this will become a problem for them in the near future. Only 10.3% of respondents said they have to reason to worry about labour force availability.

LCCI also found out that 53.8% of businessmen so far have experienced difficulties with finding appropriate workers. 27.4% mentioned having some difficulties but managing to find workers in the end. 18.4% of respondents said they haven’t experienced any problems finding qualified workers yet. «Until now, we usually received information about the labour market from individual conversations with businessmen. Now we have performed a survey that proves the lack of labour force is real and a solution is desperately needed,» says LCCI Chairman Jānis Endziņš.

When asked if businessmen support the idea of creating a study programme that would attract foreign students, 89.7% said they do, whereas only 4.9% were negative. When asked if they would support reformation of Latvia’s immigration policy to help integrate foreign students in the local market, 29.5% of interviewed businessmen said foreign students can help improve local business environment and develop exports to their home countries.

Also many interviewed businessmen said they would support students’ involvement in the labour market, because fewer young people decide to stay in Latvia, and that it is necessary to consider smart migration to help attract highly qualified labour force. 10.3% of respondents said foreign students are not needed. 6.7% of respondents think there are already enough unemployed people in Latvia.

LCCI also asked if businessmen would support higher education institutions if they created special study directions and programmes that would attract foreign students. 91% of respondents said yes, and only 4.5% said no.

«The time has come to admit that there are viable solutions: focusing on a smart immigration policy for people with appropriate education and knowledge of our country and assisting with exports of education, not fruitlessly trying to convince people who have already left to return,» said Endziņš.

He adds: «Every higher education institution should form their own study programmes accessible to foreigners, similar to how leaders of this export sector are doing it – Riga Stradins University Hospital and Turība University – to help solve the problem of labour force deficit.»


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